coal

EPA releases revamped regulations on emissions from coal power plants and passenger vehicles

Mammatus clouds that are usually associated with thunderstorms.

On August 21, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new rule to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing coal-fired electric utility generating units and power plants across the country. The Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule would replace the 2015 Clean Power Plan (CPP) Rule. On August 24, the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks and establish new standards for model years 2021 through 2026.

EPA Acting Administrator testifies before Senate committee on agency operations

The White House

Andrew Wheeler, the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), appeared before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on August 1 to discuss the EPA’s priorities going forward under this administration. Wheeler assumed his current position after Scott Pruitt resigned on July 6. During the hearing, Wheeler emphasized the EPA’s focus on certainty and transparency, specifically in risk communication, enforcement and regulation, and communications with state and local governments.

Which states are the largest producers and consumers of coal?

Coal Production

In 2017, the U.S. produced over 774 million short tons of coal1.  Coal in the U.S. is produced in three broad regions: Appalachian (Alabama, Eastern Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia), Interior (Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Western Kentucky), and Western (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming).

FERC commissioners recommend against subsidizing coal and nuclear power plants in oversight hearing

Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a formal oversight hearing for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on June 12, 2018, with all five commissioners present for the first time in a decade. FERC is responsible for regulating the interstate transmission of electricity, oil, and natural gas, and plays an integral role in reviewing proposals to build natural gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and providing licenses for hydroelectric power projects.

Politicians debate efforts to improve the nation’s electrical grid

Power lines. Image Credit: U.S. Department of Energy

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on January 23 that underscored concerns surrounding the reliability and resiliency of the electrical power system, particularly under certain weather conditions. Experts on the witness panel discussed the overall performance of nation’s grid during recent cold weather events, and potential areas for improvement.

FERC rejects Department of Energy proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants

Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic

On January 8, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) rejected a proposal that was submitted by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in September 2017 to subsidize the operating costs of coal and nuclear power plants, since the rule did not satisfy certain statutory standards. However, FERC also recognized that this issue warrants further attention and initiated a new proceeding to specifically evaluate the resilience of the bulk power system in certain operating regions.

Interactive atlas of coal mine maps in Kentucky

The Kentucky Mine Mapping Information System is produced by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet to allow users to access maps of coal mines and mined out areas in Kentucky. Users can search by company name, seam name, or state file number (SFN). For each map, overview information is provided where available (map year, mine status, mine owner, mine type, seam thickness, etc.), and users are directed to the map. Users can also overlay information on oil and gas activity on the map.

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